Do you know that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the USA, after cancer and heart disease?
There is greater public awareness regarding preventable medical errors than ever before. More people now seek compensation for their injuries and suffering. They also wonder how to file and prepare the best medical malpractice case to ensure a favorable verdict.
However, just because your medical professional made a terrible mistake, the mere idea does not amount to medical malpractice. In fact, as a plaintiff, you must establish a few things before you file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Many fallacies surround the medical practice. While some people associate medical blunders with a terrible mistake during surgery, most medical malpractice lawsuits are related to miscommunication. This also includes an inadequate medication dosage or the loss of a patient’s essential information during a shift handoff or patient transfer.
However, the plaintiff carries the onus of gathering proof in any scenario or injury. Therefore, it may be challenging to understand the distinction between negligent care and bad outcome or prove miscommunication between medical professionals. Thus, before you plan to file a lawsuit or start preparing for it, list down the questions to ask your attorney and consider the following.
Determine the time you have to file a claim
Before you decide to file a claim, it is essential to figure out how much time you have to bring the claim legally. Remember that all civil lawsuits, including medical malpractice claims, have a limited timeframe for when they must be filed.
These statutes of limitations require you to file a medical malpractice claim within a particular period from when the actual injury occurred. Otherwise, you may risk waiving all your rights to get compensation for your injuries. Always check the statutes of limitation in your specific state to ensure the time limit for filing a claim doesn’t run out.
Determine if there was a breach of duty
Before you haste to file a medical malpractice claim, determine if there was a breach of duty. Several medical malpractices involve a medical injury caused by a breach in the duty of care by a medical professional such as a nurse or doctor. For example, there might be a situation where the doctor sewed up the patient during a surgery leaving behind a medical tool inside the patient’s body. A less obvious example would be when a doctor misdiagnoses the patient or treats the patient for a disease they don’t have while ignoring to treat the issue the doctor failed to diagnose.
Suppose the doctor leaves a medical tool inside your body. In that case, it may cause infection, pain, perforated organs, and several other problems. Therefore, you must draw a direct line of causation between the breach and the injury, which may be evident in some cases but quite complicated in others.
Obtain all copies of the medical records
One of the most crucial pieces of evidence in a medical malpractice case is the medical records. However, you must sign a release enabling your and the defendant’s attorneys to get copies of all the medical records because of some privacy laws. Start by requesting a copy of all your medical records when you decide to file a case.
Once you get the copies, it will help your attorney analyze the entire case thoroughly. It will also enable them to solicit medical opinions from medical professionals who may serve as medical expert witnesses in your particular case.
In some instances, your attorney will not advise you to file a lawsuit after reviewing your records. Also, they may opine that your injury damages are not due to the medical negligence of the healthcare provider. Thus, the sooner you obtain the records and get them reviewed, the sooner you can determine if your medical lawsuit stands any chance of success.
Act as quickly as possible
Once you suspect something has gone wrong, hire an attorney as soon as possible. Indeed, people perceive medical professionals as unquestionable, yet you shouldn’t ignore your instincts if anything feels wrong.
Remember that medical professionals are humans too, and thus, even the most experienced professional can make a mistake. Even a minor mistake can cost someone dearly when it comes to medical care. Therefore, it is necessary to act quickly and not second guess your instinct or decision to contact a medical malpractice attorney when things don’t feel right.
Such practicality is even more important in the case of any photographic evidence. It is because you want to record all instances of any bodily harm at the earliest possible. Also, most statutes of limitation fall in the range of one or three years, so time shouldn’t be wasted by patients considering medical malpractice.
We recommended having a financial retainer to defray some of the costs involved during the legal process. Discuss this right away with your lawyer. It is often difficult to secure the evidence to prove a medical case in court. For instance, it may be challenging to find good doctors who are ready to comment on the care provided by other doctors critically. Therefore, when you want to proceed with medical malpractice litigation, be sure it is economically justified and well-reasoned.
Before making a medical malpractice claim, it is crucial to consider the above-discussed factors. The exact amount of consideration should also be given when choosing a medical malpractice attorney. Don’t be tempted to employ any other personal injury attorney in the haste of finding an attorney and pursuing the medical malpractice case.
Remember, it is a complex legal field. While many attorneys may claim to have experience dealing with these cases, not every lawyer can provide the attention and care required to deal with such a case.